Guide to SKOPJE

LET ME ILLUSTRATE FOR YOU: „I’m not interested in politics“

Never mind the people that are not interested in politics. Because politics is still interested in them. The lower the interest, the better for politics. What does it even mean to not be interested in politics?

It’s just as if a couple of friends have lunch at a restaurant. One of them orders a salad, and the other one asks for stew. But the first one is served cold soup instead, and the other just gets two pieces of stale bread. But they don’t mind any of that, pay the bill and leave.

Or as if somebody pays a travel agent for a week of a seaside holiday, but gets dropped off the bus by a roadside motel, comes back home 10 days later and makes no complains.

Or if somebody takes his car to a repair, gets the wrong spare parts installed in it, the care barely moves on the road, but the driver has just paid the bill and went on his way.

Has anybody ever heard of such incidents? Not at all because people do want to get what they pay for. The only exception is – when they say that they’re not interested in politics.

In essence, there’s not much difference between the state and the restaurant, the travel agent or the car repair. A state is a system of interconnected institutions, with each of them having a job to do and a service to provide to the citizens. They’re all paid for that. In advance.

Some of us may had the opportunity to enter the government buildings of our countries. Has anybody ever seen a gold mine inside of them? No, because there aren’t any. This means that every coin that the state spends, is obtained from the citizens. The loaf of bread you bought today doesn’t cost 30, but 27. The three go to the state. You got petrol for 1000? It costs 820, while the 180 are for the state. That’s what the VAT does.

Therefore, saying things like “I’m not interested in politics” is the same as saying “I’m not interested whether I get what I pay for”. Just as paying for the awful lunch, the mistaken travel destination or the unrepaired car. But this time the issue is related to hospital meals, public transport and the services obtained from the institutions.

The “Neutrals” are the biggest political party. In the 2014 elections, they counted for 37 percent of all people registered, which is 660.000 people. Polls usually show that more than 30 percent of voters are undecided. No political party in this country ever gets as much support by itself.

No company could ever hope for a third of its clients to just hand over their money and not be interested in what they’d get in return. No, in the private sectore one must provide a service in order to get money. Only the state has the privilege to take the money of the citizens with so many of them not being interested in what they’ll get for the taxes they pay.

One of the common causes for the lack of interest in politics among some people is the feeling of not having a quality choice. Many believe that even if other politicians replace the incumbent and get their hand on state institutions, nothing would change for the better.

But let’s get back to the restaurant for a moment. Would you go through the same experience again because you believe that:

  1. even if you go to a different restaurant you’d experience the same; or
  2. even if the owner changes, nothing would improve?

Are the assumed future owners or the owners of other restaurants important in the particular situation? Or all that matters is whether you get what you pay for in the given place and time?

Politics is not only about making a choice, or even about making a bad choice. It’s a relationship between the people and the system that is set to enable their organized living. This relationship is continuous, because we are continuously paying for it. It is developed between the citizens and those who are running the system at a given period of time.

Therefore, if we aren’t satisfied with the way the state is fulfilling its fundamental obligations, we should say it out loud. We should say it ourselves by filing complaints, via the media, social networks, during protests and other. Those who are running the system at a given period of time should know this, and so should the other citizens.

We won’t get a better restaurant if “we are not interested in the catering industry” and as a result we won’t get a better system if “we are not interested in politics”!